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Drilldown: Cases

Not many cases (230 of them) have been added to the database so far. To see the full list of cases (2057) go to the Mental health case law page.

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Cases > Court : High Court (Family Division) or Magistrates' Court or Scottish Sheriff Court

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Page name Sentence Summary
A City Council v LS (2019) EWHC 1384 (Fam)

Secure accommodation and inherent jurisdiction

"Does the High Court have power under its inherent jurisdiction, upon the application of a local authority, to authorise the placement in secure accommodation of a 17 year old child who is not looked after by that local authority within the meaning of s 22(1) of the Children Act 1989, whose parent objects to that course of action, but who is demonstrably at grave risk of serious, and possibly fatal harm. I am satisfied that the answer is 'no'."

A Healthcare and B NHS Trust v CC (2020) EWHC 574 (Fam)

Haemodialysis under s63 MHA 1983

"By reason of the above, the Court finds that: (i) The physical condition CC is now in, by which dialysis is critical to keep him alive, is properly described as a manifestation of his mental disorder. There is a very real prospect that if he was not mentally ill he would self-care in a way that would have not led to the need for dialysis. Further, CC's refusal of dialysis is very obviously a manifestation of his mental disorder and dialysis treatment is therefore treatment within the scope of section 63 MHA 1983. (ii) CC's capacity to consent to dialysis treatment fluctuates, however his consent is not required in order to be treated, by way of dialysis treatment, under section 63 MHA 1983. (iii) The decision whether it is in CC's best interests to receive dialysis treatment is a matter for CC's responsible clinician (having consulted clinicians attending to his physical health, including the consultant nephrologist), subject to the supervisory jurisdiction of the Court. (iv) Section 58 has no applicability. Section 62 disapplies section 58 in urgent treatment cases such as this where treatment is immediately necessary to save CC's life, to prevent a serious deterioration of his condition, and to alleviate serious suffering. Section 63 is the appropriate course. (v) As section 63 MHA 1983 can be used as authority to provide medical treatment to CC, including by dialysis treatment and by the use of light physical restraint and chemical restraint (if required), it is unnecessary for the court to exercise its discretion and make a contingent declaration pursuant to section 15(1)(c) MCA 2005 that it is lawful to treat CC in accordance with the proposed dialysis treatment plan in the event that he lacks capacity to make a decision regarding dialysis treatment at the relevant time."

A Local Authority v AT and FE (2017) EWHC 2458 (Fam)

Child, no approved secure accommodation available, deprivation of liberty

"Section 25 of the Children Act 1989 makes express and detailed provision for the making of what are known as secure accommodation orders. Such orders may be made and, indeed, frequently are made by courts, including courts composed of lay magistrates. It is not necessary to apply to the High Court for a secure accommodation order. However, as no approved secure accommodation was available, the local authority required the authorisation of a court for the inevitable deprivation of liberty of the child which would be involved. It appears that currently such authorisation can only be given by the High Court in exercise of its inherent jurisdiction. ... I am increasingly concerned that the device of resort to the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court is operating to by-pass the important safeguard under the regulations of approval by the Secretary of State of establishments used as secure accommodation. ... In my own experience it is most unusual that a secure accommodation order could be made without the attendance of the child if of sufficient age and if he wished to attend, and without the child being properly legally represented. It is true, as Mr Flood says, that this is not an application for a secure accommodation order, but the analogy is a very close one. Indeed, the only reason why a secure accommodation order is not being applied for is because an approved secure accommodation unit is not available. It seems to me, therefore, that the statutory safeguards within section 25 should not be outflanked or sidestepped simply because a local authority have been forced, due to lack of available resources, to apply for the exercise of the inherent jurisdiction of this court rather than the statutory order. ... I propose to order that the child now be joined as a party to these proceedings and Cafcass must forthwith allocate a guardian to act on his behalf. ... In my view it is very important that ordinarily in these situations, which in plain language involve a child being 'locked up', the child concerned should, if he wishes, have an opportunity to attend a court hearing. The exception to that is clearly if the child is so troubled that it would be damaging to his health, wellbeing or emotional stability to do so."

Application by Darlington Borough Council in respect of the Adult: AB (2018) ScotSC 4

Scottish capacity case

"The adult, AB, lacks capacity to make decisions as to her care and residence and is subject to Orders made by the Court of Protection in England. During 2017 the Court of Protection decided that it would be in AB’s best interests to move from a care home in Darlington (hereafter referred to as “the English Care Home”) to a care home within the Sheriffdom (hereafter referred to as “the Scottish Care Home”) for a trial period. ... A Summary Application was subsequently submitted to Glasgow Sheriff Court in which the Applicants sought two Orders from the court. Firstly, the Applicants sought an Order under paragraph 7(1) of Schedule 3 to the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 (hereafter “the 2000 Act”), recognising the Order of the Court of Protection dated 27 April 2017. Secondly, the Applicants sought an Order under paragraph 8(1) of said Schedule 3, directing the Office of the Public Guardian in Scotland to register said Order of the Court of Protection dated 27 April 2017 in the Register of International Measures maintained by the Public Guardian."

CD v London Borough of Croydon (2019) EWHC 2943 (Fam)

Inherent jurisdiction or s48 interim order

(1) Cobb J discussed the inherent jurisdiction, setting out the following summary: (a) first the inherent jurisdiction may be deployed for the protection of vulnerable adults, (b) secondly in some cases a vulnerable adult may not be incapacitated within the meaning of the 2005 Mental Capacity Act but may nevertheless be protected under the inherent jurisdiction; (c) third that in some of those cases capacitous individuals may be of unsound mind within the meaning of article 5(i)(e) of the European Rights Convention; (d) fourth, in exercising my powers under the inherent jurisdiction I am bound by the European Convention and the case law under the convention and must only impose orders that are necessary and proportionate and at all times have proper regard to the personal autonomy of the individual; and (e) fifth and finally, that in certain circumstances it may be appropriate for a court to take or maintain interim protective measures while carrying out all necessary investigations. (2) In the end he made an interim order under MCA 2005 s48 enabling the Local Authority to gain access to CD's accommodation in order to provide appropriate care and make it safe for human habitation. (3) CD was a vulnerable adult but the order was made under the MCA because the judge was "satisfied that it is more appropriate, where statute provides a route, that the statute is used".

CQC v Hillgreen Care Ltd (2018) MHLO 50

Prosecution of care home provider

(1) The care home provider charged with failing between 1/4/15 and 1/12/15 to comply with the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 by failing to provide care and treatment in a safe way for service users (reg 12) and failing to put in place, and operate effectively, systems and processes to protect service users from abuse, including sexual abuse (reg 13). The provider had known since 2004 that its resident XX posed risk a of causing sexual abuse. Following an allegation of anal rape of a woman in 2008 his care plan stated that he "identifies with both male and female around his sexual orientation" and that he "needs to be supported at all times and not to be left alone unsupervised when around other service users and when in the community". XX admitted to having sex with two other residents, neither of whom had capacity to consent: a female resident AA in April 2015 and a male resident YY on 1/11/18. The provider had not followed the care plan and the district judge concluded that "[t]he incident with YY could not have happened had there been an extra member of staff on duty to watch XX and where he went." It was found guilty of both charges and was fined £300,000. (2) The judgement states that the CQC's inspection of the care home and seizure of documents took place on 27/7/17: this is the same day as a critical article in the Times (Andrew Norfolk, 'CQC covered up suspected rape in care home' (Times, 27/7/17)). Information about the chronology can be found in the CQC's subsequent report (CQC, 'CQC publishes independent investigation into its regulation of 14 Colne Road' (press release, 13/6/18)).

CS v SBH (2019) EWHC 634 (Fam)

Whether child had "sufficient understanding" to conduct appeal without Guardian

"Thus in determining whether the child has sufficient understanding to give instructions to pursue an appeal and to conduct the appeal I need to consider a range of factors including: (i) The level of intelligence of the child. (ii) The emotional maturity of the child. (iii) Factors which might undermine their understanding such as issues arising from their emotional, psychological, psychiatric or emotional state. (iv) Their reasons for wishing to instruct a solicitor directly or to act without a guardian and the strength of feeling accompanying the wish to play a direct role. (v) Their understanding of the issues in the case and their desired outcome any matter which sheds light on the extent to which those are authentically their own or are mere parroting of one parents position. ... (vi) Their understanding of the process of litigation including the function of their lawyer, the role of the judge, the role they might play and the law that is applied and some of the consequences of involvement in litigation. ... (vii) The court's assessment of the risk of harm to the child of direct participation for the risk of harm arising from excluding the child from direct participation and the child's appreciation of the risks of harm."

Hertfordshire CC v K (2020) EWHC 139 (Fam)

Inherent jurisdiction and DOL

"In this matter, the question before the court is whether it should grant a deprivation of liberty order (hereafter a DOL order) under the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court in respect of AK, born in 2003 and now aged 16."

JK v A Local Health Board (2019) EWHC 67 (Fam)

Force feeding under s63 MHA 1983

"In my view his refusal to contemplate any alternative paths, and his rigid belief that refusing to eat is his only way forward, is a consequence of his autism and as such falls within s.63. The proposed force feeding is therefore certainly capable of being treatment for the manifestation of his mental disorder. However, that does not mean that I by any means accept that force feeding JK would be in his best interests, or critically would be "treatment" that falls within the definition in s.145(4) of the MHA, as being "to alleviate or prevent a worsening of the disorder…". It is apparent that force feeding is a highly intrusive process, which involves sedating the patient whilst the naso-gastric tube is inserted and potentially having to restrain the patient for fairly prolonged periods. This process would be extremely upsetting for any patient, but for JK with his ASD and his aversion to eating in front of other people, the process would be even more traumatic. JK said in oral evidence that he viewed the possibility as abhorrent, and it was clear from that response how incredibly upsetting for all concerned having to go through that process would be. If it came to that stage close consideration would necessarily have to be given to the terms of article 3 ECHR and the caselaw such as Herczegfalvy v Austria [1993] 15 EHRR 437 and the test of medical necessity."

Mazhar v Lord Chancellor (2017) EWHC 2536 (Fam)

Inherent jurisdiction

"This is a claim brought under sections 6, 7(1)(a), 8(1) and 9(1)(c) of the Human Rights Act 1998 against the Lord Chancellor in respect of a judicial act. The act in question is an order made by a High Court judge, Mr Justice Mostyn, who was the Family Division out of hours applications judge on the late evening of Friday, 22 April 2016. The order was made on the application of Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. It was an urgent, without notice, out of hours application made in respect of the claimant, Mr Aamir Mazhar. ... Mr Mazhar seeks to argue that the inherent jurisdiction cannot be used to detain a person who is not of unsound mind for the purposes of article 5(1)(e) of the Convention and that a vulnerable person's alleged incapacity as a result of duress or undue influence is not a basis to make orders in that jurisdiction that are other than facilitative of the person recovering, retaining or exercising his capacity. His removal and detention were accordingly unlawful and in breach of article 5. He also seeks to argue that his article 6 rights were engaged such that the absence of any challenge by the judge to his capacity and/or the evidence of the NHS Trust and the absence of any opportunity to challenge those matters himself or though his family or representatives before the order was executed was an unfair process. He says that his article 8 right to respect for family and private life was engaged and that the order was neither necessary nor in accordance with the law. ... The consequence is that I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing in the HRA (taken together with either the CPR or the FPR) that provides a power in a court or tribunal to make a declaration against the Crown in respect of a judicial act. Furthermore, the HRA has not modified the constitutional principle of judicial immunity. Likewise, the Crown is not to be held to vicariously liable for the acts of the judiciary with the consequence that the claim for a declaration is not justiciable in the Courts of England and Wales. A claim for damages against the Crown is available to Mr Mazhar for the limited purpose of compensating him for an article 5(5) breach but the forum for such a claim where the judicial act is that of a judge of the High Court cannot be a court of co-ordinate jurisdiction. On the facts of this case, the only court that can consider a damages claim is the Court of Appeal. If Mr Mazhar wants to pursue his challenge to the order of Mostyn J he must do so on appeal."

Re A-F (Children) (2018) EWHC 138 (Fam)

DOL - children

"... [T]he situation of the "young" or "very young" ... does not involve a "confinement" for the purposes of Storck component (a), even though such a child is living in circumstances which plainly satisfy the Cheshire West "acid test". ... For all present purposes, "confinement" means not simply "confining" a young child to a playpen or by closing a door, but something more: an interruption or curtailment of the freedom of action normally to be ascribed to a child of that age and understanding. ... Now at this point in the analysis a difficult question arises which has not hitherto been addressed, at least directly. At what point in the child's development, and by reference to what criteria, does one determine whether and when a state of affairs satisfying the "acid test" in Cheshire West which has hitherto not involved a "confinement" for the purposes of Storck component (a), and where Article 5 has accordingly not been engaged, becomes a "confinement" for that purpose, therefore engaging Article 5 (unless, that is, a valid consent has been given by someone exercising parental responsibility)? ... [W]hether a state of affairs which satisfies the "acid test" amounts to a "confinement" for the purposes of Storck component (a) has to be determined by comparing the restrictions to which the child in question is subject with the restrictions which would apply to a child of the same "age", "station", "familial background" and "relative maturity" who is "free from disability". ... The question is raised as to whether it is possible to identify a minimum age below which a child is unlikely to be "confined", and hence to be deprived of their liberty, given the expectation that a comparable child of the same age would also likely be under continuous supervision and control and not free to leave. ... Inevitably, one has to proceed on a case-by-case basis, having regard to the actual circumstances of the child and comparing them with the notional circumstances of the typical child of (to use Lord Kerr's phraseology) the same "age", "station", "familial background" and "relative maturity" who is "free from disability". ...[T]he best I can do, by way, I emphasise, of little more than 'rule of thumb', is to suggest that: (i) A child aged 10, even if under pretty constant supervision, is unlikely to be "confined" for the purpose of Storck component (a). (ii) A child aged 11, if under constant supervision, may, in contrast be so "confined", though the court should be astute to avoid coming too readily to such a conclusion. (iii) Once a child who is under constant supervision has reached the age of 12, the court will more readily come to that conclusion. That said, all must depend upon the circumstances of the particular case and upon the identification by the judge in the particular case of the attributes of the relevant comparator as described by Lord Kerr. The question is also raised whether, in undertaking the comparison required by the "acid test", the comparison should be made with a 'typical' child of the same age who is subject to a care order. The answer in my judgment is quite clearly, No. ... I turn to matters of process and procedure."

Re A-F (Children) (No 2) (2018) EWHC 2129 (Fam)

DOL - children

"The purpose of the hearing, as it developed, was to deal with four matters: (i) A review of any relevant developments since the previous hearing in August 2017. (ii) The making of final orders. (iii) In that context, consideration of the implications of the fact that two of the children with whom I am concerned either have had or will, during the currency of the final order, if granted, have their sixteenth birthday. (iv) The formulation, if possible, of standard forms of order for use in such cases."

Re AB (2020) EWHC 691 (Fam)

Access to records of deceased patient

The Access to Health Records Act 1990 states that "[a]n application for access to a health record, or to any part of a health record, may be made to the holder of the record by ... where the patient has died, the patient's personal representative and any person who may have a claim arising out of the patient's death" but limits this as follows: "access shall not be given ... to any part of the record which, in the opinion of the holder of the record, would disclose information which is not relevant to any claim which may arise out of the patient's death." The two categories are disjunctive and the reference to "a claim arising out of the patient's death" is expressly tied to the second, and not to a personal representative.

Re AB (Inherent Jurisdiction: Deprivation of Liberty) (2018) EWHC 3103 (Fam)

Inherent jurisdiction authorises DOL during conditional discharge

AB had capacity to consent to the care, support and accommodation arrangements which were provided as part of his conditional discharge but, following the MM case, there was an unlawful deprivation of liberty. The High Court extended the inherent jurisdiction to regularise the position of a capacitous detained mental health patient subject to restrictions as part of his conditional discharge which satisfied the objective elements of a deprivation of liberty (firstly, it was clear that there was no legislative provision governing this situation in that the Mental Health Act provided no remedy; secondly, it was in the interests of justice; and, thirdly, there were sound and strong public policy justifications). The court order: authorised the deprivation of liberty for 12 months; required the applicant to apply to court if the restrictions increase, and no less than one month before the expiry of the authorisation; and provided for a review on the papers unless a party requests or the court requires an oral hearing.

Re C (Female Genital Mutilation and Forced Marriage: Fact Finding) (2019) EWHC 3449 (Fam)

Vulnerable witnesses

Paragraphs 14-18 deal with "Assessing the Evidence of Vulnerable Witnesses", including the following: "Despite my very considerable sympathy for witnesses with significant vulnerabilities such as the mother in this case, my clear view is that there is one standard of proof which applies without modification irrespective of the characteristics of witnesses, including vulnerable witnesses to whom Part 3A and PD3AA apply. I observe that many vulnerable witnesses are just as likely as anyone else either to tell the truth or to lie deliberately or misunderstand events. It would be unfair and discriminatory to discount a witness's evidence because of their inherent vulnerabilities (including mental and cognitive disabilities) and it would be equally wrong in principle not to apply a rigorous analysis to a witness's evidence merely because they suffer from mental, cognitive or emotional difficulties. To do otherwise would, in effect, attenuate the standard of proof when applied to witnesses of fact with such vulnerabilities. ... Having said that, I offer the following observations, none of them particularly novel, which might assist in assessing the evidence of vulnerable witnesses, particularly those with learning disabilities. First, it is simplistic to conclude that the evidence of such a witness is inherently unreliable. Second, it is probably unfair to expect the same degree of verbal fluency and articulacy which one might expect in a witness without those problems. Third, it is important not to evaluate the evidence of such a witness on the basis of intuition which may or may not be unconsciously biased. Finally, it is important to take into account and make appropriate allowances for that witness's disability or vulnerability, assisted by any expert or other evidence available."

Re C (Lay Advocates) (2019) EWHC 3738 (Fam)

Lay advocates in public law family proceedings

"In my judgment that there is no material difference between the services provided by an interpreter, an intermediary or a lay advocate insofar as they each enable and support parties and witnesses to communicate and understand these proceedings. HMCTS routinely pay for the services of interpreters and intermediaries, I cannot see any principled reason why it should not also pay for the services of lay advocates in an appropriate case. ... Accordingly, I will appoint a lay advocate for the mother and a lay advocate for the father. They cost £30 per hour which I consider to be entirely reasonable. I have assessed the likely number of hours of work on this for the lay advocates to be 50 hours."

Re D (A Child): Liverpool City Council v AM (2018) EWCOP 31

Placement for child

"However, an extensive search for a therapeutic placement was undertaken throughout the UK with repeated emails being sent to multiple providers. Unfortunately, due to there being a limited number of placements available and demand being high, no offers of placements were made that were remotely suitable to D's identified needs. The Placements Team contacted commissioners in other Local Authorities, requesting any intelligence concerning potentially suitable placements. I have been told that they obtained a Residential Framework Placement list to ensure that they were contacting every possible provider. The case has been heard by HHJ De Haas QC, the Designated Family Judge for Liverpool and Merseyside whose robust and determined case management is clear from the papers. Having failed, entirely, to achieve a placement, over so many months Judge De Haas, yesterday, in desperation and no doubt exasperation, ordered the case to be transferred to me. I have interposed it into my list to be heard, as it has been throughout, in open Court with, I note, the press in attendance."

Re HC (A Minor: Deprivation of Liberty) (2018) EWHC 2961 (Fam)

DOL of child

"HC has just turned 13 years of age. I shall refer to his parents in this judgment as, respectively, M and F, and to his brother as B. HC currently lives in a residential unit in Yorkshire ("the unit"). By application dated 18th July 2018, the local authority responsible for HC's placement asks that the court determine whether HC's placement constitutes a deprivation of his liberty and, if this question is answered in the affirmative, for authorisation, by way of declaratory relief pursuant to the inherent jurisdiction. ... Although the LA brings the application, it does not assert a position one way or the other in relation to whether HC's placement at the unit constitutes a deprivation of his liberty. Exploring this rather unusual position with Ms Shaikh, I was told that the LA sought only to present the facts to the court and to leave it to me to adjudge whether the particular regime and its inherent restrictions constitutes a deprivation of liberty. In the event that I do so find, the LA seeks authorisation of the deprivation as being necessary and proportionate."

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council v ZZ (2020) EWHC 185 (Fam)

Withholding life-sustaining treatment from baby

"It is impossible not to feel that X's life is one of nothing but suffering. As is set out in the cases above, life itself is precious and there is a very strong presumption in favour of preserving life. But X's life is a truly tragic one and certainly reaches a threshold of intolerability. ... His life expectancy is probably no more than a year on the basis of the literature. ... For all these reasons I am clear that it is not in X's best interests that he should be resuscitated or that he should be given life sustaining treatment."

Southend-On-Sea Borough Council v Meyers (2019) EWHC 399 (Fam)

Inherent jurisdiction prevents elderly man from living with son

"The essence of his vulnerability is, in fact, his entirely dysfunctional relationship with his son ... Mr Meyers, I am satisfied, is entirely capable of and has the capacity ... for determining where he wishes to reside and with whom. ... I instinctively recoil from intervening in the decision making of a capacitious adult ... Here Mr Meyers' life requires to be protected and I consider that, ultimately, the State has an obligation to do so. Additionally, it is important to recognise that the treatment of Mr Meyers has not merely been neglectful but abusive and corrosive of his dignity. To the extent that the Court's decision encroaches on Mr Meyers' personal autonomy it is, I believe, a justified and proportionate intervention. The preservation of a human life will always weigh heavily when evaluating issues of this kind. ... The objective here ... is that Mr Meyers be prevented from living with his son, either in the bungalow or in alternative accommodation. I do not compel him to reside in any other place or otherwise limit with whom he should live. ... The impact of the Court's intervention is to limit Mr Meyers's accommodation options but it does not deprive of his physical liberty which is the essence of the right guaranteed by Article 5. ... It is also necessary to restrict the extent of Mr Meyers's contact with his son in order to keep him safe. ... To the extent that this interferes with his Article 8 rights it is, again as I have indicated above, a necessary and proportionate intervention. ... The ideal solution here, it seems to me, would be for Mr Meyers to return to his bungalow with a suitable package of support, his son having been excluded from the property."

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